Erwin Wurm, an artist living and working in Vienna, combines various art forms: sculpture, photography and performance into a unique personal view of the everyday world. Drawing on history, humor and philosophy, Wurm creates light-hearted artworks with at times serious messages. His new sculptural works which have a grand theatrical scale and were created specifically for this exhibition, invite the viewer to interact and participate. Wurm’s smaller-scale Drinking Sculpture series ask the audience to engage and they literally do; it is a bar. The viewer can open drawers and interact with the piece.
Wurm’s well-known sweater pieces, in the format of large-scale wall works, blur the boundary between human form and the museum building. Here, Wurm eludes to dressing a portion of the museum for warmth and security. A series of smaller sweater sculptures also incorporate fashion – the sweater forms are stretched and altered by crude wooden braces. These altered works transform the visitor’s view of the sweater forms into the present moment, leaving any history, which can be at times painful, and the future, at best illusionary, out of the experience. Additionally, a new series of ‘hoodie’ works push the human form and showcase how balance can be found within the gallery spaces.
Beauty Business, is Wurm’s first cohesive focus on the home or dwelling. As architect Le Corbusier once remarked, the purpose of architecture is to move us. In his art, Wurm consistently realizes architecture’s highest aim as he creates works whose extraordinary power lies not only in how deeply they make us feel, but also in how they let us see the complexity of our feelings, in meaningful environments which help us to dwell. A dwelling is an in-between space where one may hesitate between worlds. The activity of dwelling is therefore a contemplative lingering – a way of remaining in a space or location that is responsive to the nature of that particular place, and open to whatever happens to trigger our imagination; through association, through fantasies, daydreams, desires, or memories.
Wurm’s greatest insights as an artist are that he believes our feelings about such locations are often mixed, that we are often drawn to what both attracts and repels – these are things the artist understands intuitively. If in the space surrounding his objects we experience our own ambivalence about certain issues more intensely, it is because of the way, in theme and structure, his work so elegantly holds contradictory elements in tension.
This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Dallas Contemporary, Texas and curated by Peter Doroshenko, the Director of Dallas Contemporary. It was presented at Dallas Contemporary on April 14 through August 19, 2012.
Additional support for this exhibition was made possible by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris and Salzburg; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.
About Erwin Wurm
Known for his uniquely humorous approach to formalism, Wurm’s multi-disciplinary works have appeared in exhibitions throughout the world. Erwin Wurm has exhibited extensively with shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, (2005); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France, (2007); Konstmuseum Malmö, Sweden, (2008); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland, (2008); the Moscow Biennial (2009); Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2010); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2010); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). The artist just recently revealed NARROW HOUSE at the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (June 2011).
Works by Wurm are included in prestigious collections throughout the world at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Peggy Guggenhein Collection, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Musèe d`Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France; and Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, among others.
Erwin Wurm lives and works in Vienna, Austria.